The Mekong Delta: Seabass in a bumper harvest, high prices

In brackish water areas of the Mekong Delta, seabass farmers are having a bumper harvest and fetching high prices for their fish.

The Đai Ngư Nghiệp Company (located in Liêu Tú commune, Trần Đề district, Sóc Trăng province) has just harvested their seabass ponds to deliver to customers at Bình Điền Market in Ho Chi Minh City. Dũng, director of the company, mentioned that the seabass in these ponds were raised for 8 months and have reached a size of 1.2-1.5 kg. Currently, the small-sized seabass (0.5-0.9 kg each) is sold at 73,000 VND/kg, while the larger-sized fish (1.2 kg and above) is priced at 75,000 VND/kg, resulting in a profit of 5,000-7,000 VND/kg for the fish farmers.

Tuấn, in Hòa Đông commune, one of the large-scale seabass farmers in Vĩnh Châu, Sóc Trăng, explained, “The price of seabass was very high earlier this year, at times reaching 90,000 VND/kg and lasting for over a month, while the average price stays at 80,000 VND/kg”. He noted that one hectare of land can yield up to 50 tons on average, with some achieving as much as 100 tons. If the harvest is bumper, farmers can earn 500 million to 1 billion VND profit.

Raising seabass is not difficult; the domestic and export markets, which are not yet completely stable, are the main problems. Dũng’s company operates two farming areas of more than 40 hectares, with an annual harvest of about 2,000 tons, of which 85% is seabass and 15% is silver croaker. In addition, Dũng collaborates with local farmers by supplying them with fingerlings, fish feed, and purchasing their commercial fish, about 2,000 tons each year. Dũng shared, “Expanding the farming area is not difficult if there is an export market, because currently, everything from fingerlings to feed and the farming process in Vietnam is well-managed.”

According to Dũng, Sóc Trăng has the highest seabass production in the country, exceeding 20,000 tons annually, trailing Sóc Trăng, Khánh Hòa with around 10,000 tons and provinces like Quảng Ninh, Hải Phòng, Thái Bình with a few thousand tons each. Seabass are also exported to several Asian countries, European, American, and Canadian. Dũng further explained, “Exporting to Asian countries is the easiest, as they only require fish weighing 0.5-1.2 kg each ( about 0.95 kg each on average) and a culture period of 6.5 months. However, when exported to Europe, the United States, or Canada, the fish must reach a size of 2.5-2.7 kg each, thus, the culture period ust extend to 12-14 months, but the selling price is obviously higher.”

Dũng affirmed, “Currently, in terms of cost, Vietnamese seabass can compete with those from Thailand and Malaysia. Therefore, in my opinion, the agriculture sector should pay more attention to this species.”


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